Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “Duffy,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
'The Duff' is a fantastic book by a fresh new voice in teen fiction, Kody Keplinger. I'm definitely excited to read more by her in the future. I was so inspired to find out that she wrote this book when she was only seventeen and still at school.
The story centres around Bianca Piper who at the beginning of the book is labelled with the nickname the Duff (which stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by hot but irritatingly annoying Wesley Rush. Taking this to heart, Bianca can't help but dwell on the nickname but finds that she has other problems to deal with too and only one way in which she can temporarily put them all out of her mind.
What I loved about 'The Duff' was how realistically and truthfully all the characters are portrayed. They have their faults, they don't always do the right thing or say the right thing but they're human and they sometimes make mistakes and get things wrong. No where is this more amply illustrated than with Bianca herself. Although I liked her immediately and she came across as quite self-assured and confident on the outside, underneath she has self-esteem issues and problems just like everyone else. I didn't always agree with some of her actions but she learnt a lot about herself throughout the course of the book. Her relationship with Wesley is central to the story and there were definitely enough sparks flying between the two of them to start a fire! I have to say that I didn't like Wesley at all in the beginning but as I learnt more about him he did start to grow on me.
Bianca's two friends, Casey and Jessica were amazing. I liked the way they were all extremely different but seemed to bring out the best in each other and were there whenever any one of them needed a friend or a shoulder to cry on.
The book deals frankly with the topic of teen sex which I found quite a refreshing change. Keplinger certainly doesn't tiptoe around the subject. That does mean that the book is probably better suited to a slightly older teen audience, as there's some strong language too but I appreciated the fact that the subject is out there and openly discussed.
'The Duff' was an addictive read which really stood out among a crowded teen market. Funny, entertaining and most of all real, it scored a hit with me.